Preview: South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2nd test

December 26, 2011

Preview by Anoop Naval

South Africa ripped apart the visiting Sri Lankans thanks to Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn’s stellar bowling efforts crushing them by an innings and 81 runs in the first test at the Centurion.

There is no doubt that the second test posts a serious threat to the Lankans. The hosts will look for another rampaging performance to continue their dominance whereas the visitors will have to muster all they can to get back on their feet and stop the Proteas in their tracks.

South Africa:

The South Africans had displayed outstanding skill at the Centurion with both bat and the ball. Dale Steyn(6/54), even with his stingy economy rate of 2.64 in 20.4 overs, barely got any attention as Vernon Philander made up for all the runs he gave away with his 10 for figures(10/102) to leave the Sinhalese side looking completely helpless. As far as the batting is concerned, Mark Boucher’s return to form with his 65 will come as great news for the South African side, while Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers put up a good show to boot.

On the other hand, Morne Morkel looked fairly lost with the ball as he bagged only 1 wicket in the 19 overs that he bowled. Opener Jacques Rudolph took a long time to get to his 44.

Kingsmead, which has usually possessed a pitch suited to South Africa’s bowling attack, has been predicted to live up to its reputation as a bouncy one. Former Proteas coach Graham Ford said “Wilson Ngubese(the groundsman) has already rolled the pitch hard and it is very firm. Therefore, there will be a lot more bounce and the ball will skid through quickly,” to a local newspaper.

All that South Africa have to focus on, is to match their efforts of the first test, and hope that the Durban pitch behaves to their expectation as a hard bouncy track, satisfying which we might get to see another Lankan disaster.

Sri Lanka:

The woes of the Lankan team start with veteran batsmen Mahela Jayawardhane(30&15) and Kumar Sangakkara(1&2) struggling to find some form, which even captain Tilakaratne Dilshan acknowledges as a serious flaw in the team’s batting line up, not to mention vice-captain Angelo Mathews failing to recover from his groin injury during the first test. The Sri Lankan bowlers have fared no better, with Chanaka Welegedara and Thissara Perera both bagging 3 wickets each but also giving away 96 and 114 respectively. Veteran pacer Dilhara Fernando completely lost his way with his 1/128. It is no good news that the Lankans have not played in South Africa for 11 years now which makes it really hard for them to acclimatize to the Protean conditions. Out of form batsman Kumar Sangakkara confessed that it is better for the visiting side to makes as less excuses as possible.

“It’s been the same mistakes repeated quite a few times,” Sangakkara said. “Those are things we can’t excuse. When you have a lot of excuses around you it really doesn’t work.”

Lanka will look to buckle up their best skills and push the Proteas to a defeat that will provide a huge moral boost to the world cup finalists.

Final Word:

On a bouncy Durban track, the team with the better bowling side is sure to dominate. At the moment South Africa fulfill that requirement. If Sri Lanka fail to get their game right, we are sure to witness another Protean show.

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